Instant analysis from the Orioles' wild-card loss to the Blue Jays
By The Baltimore Sun
Oct 04, 2016 at 11:50 PM
Baltimore Orioles beat writer Jon Meoli talks about Orioles manager Buck Showalter's decision to not use closer Zach Britton in a save situation. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Jon Meoli, Orioles reporter: The deepest bullpen in baseball posted zeroes for five innings, and came up one inning short. The million-dollar question is, and will be, "What happened to Zach Britton?" The Orioles closer was up for the eighth inning, then wasn't used, as Brad Brach, Darren O'Day and Brian Duensing pieced together the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings. Duensing gave way to the loser, Ubaldo Jimenez, and the game quickly ended. Only injury can explain why Britton, the Cy Young-worthy closer, didn't get in the game. But there's not much need to explain just why the Orioles managed only four hits. This offense was boom-or-bust all year, especially down the stretch, and it only went boom once Tuesday. What a disappointing way for the season to end.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Wow. The Ubaldo Jimenez renaissance ended with a big bang and the Orioles' season ended with it. Manager Buck Showalter decided to hold onto Zach Britton until the Orioles got a run, but they didn't even get a hit after the sixth inning. The all-or-nothing offense could manage just one big swing over 11 innings, so there's no point in arguing over managerial strategy. Both managers picked the right starting pitcher and it came down to the bullpens. The Orioles seemed to have an advantage in that department, but you can't win if you don't score. So it goes.
Josh Land, Orioles editor: A brutal end to the Orioles' season. Not using Zach Britton is a mystery, but the imperfect Orioles see their postseason run end after one game because they managed only four hits in 11 innings. The Orioles bullpen held the Blue Jays at bay until it ran out of traditional relief weapons. Ubaldo Jimenez shouldn't be vilified for this one. He has always struggled in relief, so this shouldn't be much of a surprise considering the sluggers he was up against. Now, another interesting offseason awaits -- an offseason that arrives far sooner than the club hoped.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: This is what postseason baseball is supposed to be about, minus the beer-can-throwing idiot. This game had it all. Unfortunately, someone had to lose. This would have made a terrific three- or five-game series. If I'm the Texas Rangers, I'm not feeling too good right now -- you'll be facing a Blue Jays team on a roll.